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LEGO® Blocks {Linky Party}: Ways to Use LEGOS® to build language skills with your “big kids!”

 

 

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I have a 10 year old son (actually he just turned 11 a few days ago, but I’m in denial about that so I am saying he’s 10 for just a little longer!) so LEGOS® are abundant in our home!   I’ve saved every last one of them, after all, LEGOS® are pretty expensive and I know I will continue to  find uses for them, with my speech students, once my son outgrows them.  So when Kelly at Speech2U decided to do a LEGO®  themed linky party this month, I knew I had to jump in and share my ideas.   The majority of my caseload is currently comprised of middle and high school students.  But don’t think for a minute that these guys are too big to play with toys.  They love it–they are still kids after all!   So here are a few ways to incorporate LEGOS® into your therapy sessions with the older crowd:

 

1–LEGO® Movie Maker 

I love this totally FREE app–(available in the iTunes store)    It’s user-friendly and simple enough for upper elementary, middle or high school students to navigate on their own and create an amazing LEGO® story.  Here is a sample story that my own kiddo made a while back. (He was obsessed with this app for quite some time.)   Use LEGO® pieces or characters, add in a few extra props if you choose–as he did in this segment.

I use this app in my therapy sessions as a fantastic way to address so many language skills:

1–Organizing your thoughts to sequence a story with a clear beginning, middle and ending.

2–Using good sentence structure to explain what is happening with each LEGO® scene.

3–Using descriptive language while narrating the details of your story.  You can also insert short sentences within the app to describe what is happening in each scene.

If you have older artic or fluency students on your caseload, this would be a great activity to use with them as well, especially if they are in the carry-over phase of therapy.

Check out Joseph’s LEGO® video here as “Lego Dudes Fight Robo-Man” in a fight to the finish!!

 

 

 

2–LEGO® Barrier Games

This activity is the ultimate in direction following and direction giving!  It is definitely a game that would be appropriate for older students, but of course you could scale it down by using less LEGOS® depending on the age/ability level of the students.

Set up two piles of LEGOS® that have exactly the same amount, color and size of LEGOS® in each set.  If you have two square LEGO® grids, that would be the easiest way to play. The grid will keep the pieces from falling or slipping.

 

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Each player gets a grid. A barrier should be placed between the players.

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Player 1 first sets up the grid using the LEGO® blocks in any design or creation that they wish (they can do this in advance of playing or at the same time that the second player is adding their blocks to their grid), however they must be prepared to describe step-by-step to player 2 how they made their final product.  For example, “Start by placing a small square blue Lego® (with four holes) on the right side of a long skinny Lego® (with five holes).”  This game is quite challenging and requires very detailed descriptions from player 1, a lot of focus and good listening from player 2 and is a great example of the importance of good communication between a speaker and listener.  It’s also an effective way to ask good “WH” questions when directions are unclear, too lengthy or confusing.

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In the end, take away the divider and see if player 1 and 2 have the same creation! Tricky, challenging and fun!!

 

3–LEGO® creations and explanations:

Working on vocabulary? comprehension? fluency?  Whatever the skill may be, use LEGOS® as a positive reinforcer for correct responses.  Place LEGOS® in a container and allow students to pull one, two or three blocks out.  You can decide how many blocks to award based on the level of difficulty of the responses.   You can also require students to put back pieces for incorrect answers.  At the end of the session, give students the last few minutes to use all their pieces to create something.  They can guess what the other students in their group have made or give clues about what they built and have the others take guesses.  The first one to guess the LEGO® creation is the winner.

Hope you can use some of these ideas the next time you are working with your older students…remember to use games and fun challenges in your therapy sessions with them, just as you do for your younger kiddos, to keep them motivated and on task! Find more LEGO® ideas from other SLP’s at the LEGO® linky party!

SpeechSnacks Blogiversary Celebration Guest Post and GIVEAWAY: DAY 6 {“Using Food to Learn About Five Senses” from Communication Station Speech Therapy}

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Today is the final day of my blogiversary  celebration!   Thank you for following all the posts and participating in the giveaways! I  hope you have enjoyed all the amazing food-themed therapy ideas from my SLP blogger friends.  14 SLP’s took part in this week’s “food-for-all!!”  Not only are SLP’s a very bright and creative group of professionals, they are also very, very generous.  So before Maria, from Communication Station talks about using food to learn about your five senses, I just want to recognize and give one more shout out to the following SLP’s for partying with me this week—and don’t forget the GIVEAWAYS are all open and running until midnight on September 8th!!!  (see bottom of this post)

GUEST POSTS:      

  • Home Sweet Speech Room
  • Smart Speech Therapy
  • Twin Sister’s Speech and Language
  • Speech Language Pirates
  • Speech 2U
  • Communication Station Speech Therapy

GIVEAWAYS:

  • Carrie’s Speech Corner
  • Megan Moyer
  • Speech Time Fun
  • Busy Bee Speech
  • Teach Speech 365
  • Rock Chalk Speech Talk
  • Figuratively Speeching
  • Just Wright Speech

 

 

Who doesn’t love using food in speech therapy?  I know this girl does!!!


Note:  Please be sure to check for allergies before using any foods in therapy!!!!

Each year in the fall my little PK clients go back to school and the first month of school is all about learning about themselves, their bodies, their senses, and their families.  I like to use food the week they are learning about their 5 senses so I can introduce concepts they may not have heard of before. 

In therapy, we talk about what foods look like, how it feels in our hands and mouths, what the food sounds like when we are eating it, and of course the best part, what each food tastes like.  This is where I focus most of the therapy session(s).  I like to focus on introducing a variety of taste attributes such as:  sweet, sour/tart, juicy, salty, crunchy, mushy, soft, and any other attributes you can think of.  These are great vocabulary words that can be introduced at a young age but also can be used for our language delayed kiddos in early elementary school as well.

I like to begin with a little taste testing game!  Blind folds are a MUST for this as I want my kiddos to “taste” that attribute (not “see” it).  I use this activity for small groups (3-5 kiddos at a time) all sitting around a table blind folded with a small paper plate in front of them.  However this can be done as a whole class lesson or a classroom station activity as well.


I take turns presenting them with the SAME food on each trial (initially).  Keep in mind your younger kiddos will just want to guess what it is they are eating.  That’s fine, I answer their curiosity by labeling the object after they tasted it and move on the concept I want them to learn.  “Yes, that is a pretzel.  How does a pretzel taste?  Sweet or salty?  Crunchy or soft?”

The process:  1.) place blindfold, 2.) place food on plate, 3.) tell all students to take a taste, 4.) let students shout out what they are “tasting”(with blindfolds still in place), 5.) have students remove their blindfolds (I just have them pull up to forehead but keep on head…saves time) to see the food and talk about the attributes you want them to learn, 6.) replace blindfolds and start again with next food item.

Ok so what are my go to foods that I use?  Well I try to keep it fairly healthy with a little fun at the end.  I separate foods into three main categories but as you read through you can see how multiple taste attributes can be added to each food item. 

Salty/Crunchy/Crispy: 
For my salty and/or crunchy/crispy concepts like to use foods such as mini/stick pretzels, baby carrots (or carrots cut up like chips…that’s a GREAT way to trick their little minds into thinking they are eating chips and it’s amazing when my kiddos say, “I don’t like carrots but I like these!”), and goldfish.  Animal crackers are great for a crunchy but sweet taste! 

Sweet:
For my sweet taste I will use various types of raw fruits (apple slices, bananas, pears in fruit cups, etc.) and dried fruits (trail mix is great for some crispy dried fruit…just be careful with the nuts and allergies).  I can add concepts such as crunchy/crispy, mushy, and even juicy for these various fruits.

Sour/Tart:
For my sour/tart taste I like to use dill pickles (hamburger slices are the perfect size), pineapples, cranberry raisins, and yogurt (I was surprised when I first started to do this to find there are some younger kiddos that find different yogurt tastes to be less sweet and more tart…so I find that interesting and our taste buds are all different and there are no right/wrong answers here!).  Soft/mushy concept is great with bananas a previously stated as well as cheese sticks (NOT directly from the fridge) or a dollop of cream cheese.

 A few fun items: 
Fruit snacks are fun b/c you can buy sweet ones AND tart ones (the tropical ones are more tart) so that is a fun way to compare the tastes of a same textured food.  Also I like to add just a few fun candies at the end if I can…one skittle, a sweet tart, maybe a sour patch candy, and of course a Hershey kiss and the fun is complete!!!!

Remember, you can always revisit these taste attributes during various holidays as candy canes, and jelly beans are all made in different flavors. 
Graph it/Chart it:
The last piece of this activity is to add some pre or early math concepts of charting/graphing to the mix.  I will use butcher paper to create a huge graph and will graph out the number of students who label each food with various taste attributes.  Once our graph is complete we count them and visibly teach concepts such as “more than/less than/fewer/equal to/ greater than”, etc.


The above picture is a mock up of what my foods poster/graph looks like.  When I worked in the schools, I happened to do this activity before back to school night, so a poster like this was hanging on the wall, in the hallway in front of my speech room.  I had several parents come up to me and tell me how “neat” they thought that idea was to teach their children how foods taste.  It made me feel good and it was a nice way to visually show parents one way speech and language therapy can be very practical and functional.
Anyway, that is one of my very favorite ways to use food to introduce a number of vocabulary taste concepts while incorporating some math fun!
Happy Talking and Eating!!!

 Maria Del Duca, M.S. CCC-SLP, is a pediatric speech-language pathologist in southern, Arizona.  She owns a private practice, Communication Station: Speech Therapy, PLLC, and has a speech and language blog under the same name.  Maria received her master’s degree from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania.  She has been practicing as an ASHA certified member since 2003 and is an affiliate of Special Interest Group 16, School-Based Issues.  She has experience in various settings such as private practice, hospital and school environments and has practiced speech pathology in NJ, MD, KS and now AZ.  Maria has a passion for early childhood, autism spectrum disorders, rare syndromes, and childhood Apraxia of speech.  For more information, visit her blog or find her on Facebook.

Click on each apple to go to the post and enter the giveaway:

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SpeechSnacks Blogiversary Celebration Guest Post and GIVEAWAY: DAY 5 {Healthy Options for Feeding Therapy from Speech2U}

 

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I’m really excited for the opportunity to be part of Speech Snack’s 2nd year blogiversary.  Rose does a fantastic job combining healthy foods and cooking with speech and language therapy.

About 10% of my caseload is feeding clients.  I don’t blog a lot about feeding therapy techniques because I think that these kids really need services from a feeding team and trained professionals.

Suzanne Evans Morris is a FANTASTIC resource for feeding information papers and ideas.  I was lucky enough to go to one of her courses on transitioning children from G-tubes when I was in grad school.  One of my favorite papers of hers is on different food progressions for biting and chewing.

One of the techniques that I do use is grading my food choices based on how “easy” it is for my kiddoes to manage from an oral motor standpoint.  With my feeding clients, I tend to use single textured foods until we are closer to discharge.  For instance, I can alter the food’s taste, consistency or size/shape in order to make the food more manageable for my clients.

One of my favorite consistencies to use in therapy is called a “meltable hard solid” This is a term used by Dr. Kay Toomey from the SOS Approach to Feeding.  A meltable hard solid is a dry food that becomes moist and is able to be swallowed with minimal effort.  Puffed corn is an example of a food that is easily managed and almost melts in your mouth.

Once they are able to manage that, I try to find foods that you can put in your mouth and chew 1-2 times but also maintain their shape-so that they don’t get scattered all around the mouth (requiring more tongue movements.  Instead they stay on the molars and kind of mush together when you are chewing them.  Mush is probably not the most technical word I could have used.  

One challenge in working with these patients is finding foods that are easy to manage and healthy for children to eat.  Cheri Fraker, OTR uses a Food Chaining Approach which links foods currently in a child’s repertoire to more advanced foods.

I will generally try to get my clients to accept more liquids and smoothies as this is a great way to get in some vegetables and protein while discussing small changes in food/taste.  Does the shake taste different if we add in one spinach leaf?  What if I could get them drinking Kale shakes?  The bright green color throws them off though.  I’ve got to think of some cool names for them: Hulk Juice, Green Lantern Shake, Tree Shakes….

Another food that I try to build up with my clients is popsicles.  The cold can be good for triggering swallowing-and it’s another way to add some vegetables in.  In general I work towards having kids accept that the vegetable is in the smoothie/popsicle vs. trying to hide it from them.  It’s a trust issue.  

The Zoku Pop Makers are awesome for using in feeding or traditional language therapy.  They freeze a popsicle in about 5 minutes.  I tried Blueberry Kale (I’m on a Kale kick, obviously….) this week at home.  For feeding kids, I work on accepting different fruits as well as temperatures and how to lick foods.  For my language kids, I work on adjectives like cold, verbs like lick, bite, freeze, pour, stir, get and put.  I can take pictures of the activity and work on sequencing.

Here are a few other products I’ve found really helpful for using in feeding therapy:
FREEZE DRIED FRUITS/VEGETABLES:

Freeze Dried Fruits are a great way to introduce fruits and vegetables to kids as they are dry and more similar to a chip.  I usually check the consistency before offering to my clients.  For instance, the peach freeze dried fruits require one big chew and then kind of melt and stay in one place.  The pineapple ones require a lot of chewing.  The dried carrots were very difficult to eat and small enough to be a choking hazard.

Once opened, these snacks tend to go stale fairly quickly.  I will use these as snacks in speech or language sessions.  We might take them and talk about foods that are crunchy, more crunchy or the crunchiest.

BEAN CHIPS:

If I have clients that LOVE to eat chips-I might try these chips because they have about 4 grams of protein per serving.  The brown bean chips require more chewing but the white bean chips hold their shape in your mouth and only require a few chews before they are ready for swallowing.

I do have a oral motor/feeding evaluation FREEBIE for Speech Snack’s Readers.

That’s my post for today.  Congratulations Speech Snacks on reaching 2 years!

ALL GIVEAWAYS are open until September 8th at midnight!!  Enter one or enter them all!!!   Click on each apple to go to the links!

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SpeechSnacks Blogiversary Celebration Guest Post and GIVEAWAY: DAY 4 { “Using Foods to Connect with Your Students” from Speech Language Pirates}

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Hi, I’m Denise from Speech Language Pirates.  When I was asked to do a guest post about food, I JUMPED on it!  I love to eat and I love pretty much all food.  The running joke with my friends is that if I’m asked, “Are you hungry?” my response is, “I could eat…”

I work with many self-contained autism and intellectual disability classrooms.  Sometimes, it seems hard to engage many students in these classrooms.  One “never fail” tactic is to use food.  I swear, the second I uncover the food, the students are ALL over – bright eyed, bushy tailed, and ready to work!

I’ve used food in a variety of ways with my students.  Here’s a look at some of them.

This winter I made hot cocoa mugs using hot cocoa packets.  Take a closer look here.

For Valentine’s Day, I used Jell-O to make cards.  Check it out.  The Jell-O powder smells AMAZING!

 

 

We also did an adapted writing activity.

In the same post as the Valentine’s card, I describe how I celebrated Dr. Seuss week by making Cat in the Hat hats with fruit.  The kids were able to cut the bananas themselves!  My students eat SO well – the love fruit!

We also used Jell-O to make shamrocks for St. Patrick’s Day.  Have a look here.

I don’t have pictures nor a corresponding blog post for this idea, but it’s an activity my students loved!  The OT and I co-teach with our ID class.  We try to incorporate many OT skills, including holding and using food and school utensils, into our lessons. We made fruit salad with many easy-to-cut fruits: bananas, kiwi, grapes, pears, etc.  Using Boardmaker, I made a “recipe” with simple steps for the students to follow: 1. cut fruit 2. put in bowl 3. mix 4. eat.  We were able to “check off” the steps we had completed.  It was great for sequencing because at the end, we put the steps in order.  Boardmaker is great for stuff like that!  The kids love anything on the SmartBoard!  Because the kids can get somewhat impatient, while it was one person’s turn to cut the real fruit, we let the others play with and practice cutting with the Melissa and Doug wooden cutting fruit.  I love this set!

***(One of my students has an allergy to strawberries, so I steer clear of all berries just to be safe.  Otherwise, I would have used lots of berries in the fruit salad and strawberries Cat in the Hat hats.)

 

And now for today’s giveaways…..Enter to win .   Can I Take our Order?  from Teach Speech 365 and   If You Give a Mouse a Cookie  from Rock Chalk Speech Talk.  Click on the links to check out their awesome prizes and other items in their TpT stores!!  This giveaway will stay open until September 8 at midnight!

 

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SpeechSnacks Blogiversary Celebration Guest Post and GIVEAWAY: DAY 3 {“Making S’mores” with Twin Sisters Speech & Language!”}

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A CAMPING WE SHALL GO!

Hello, this is Shanda Gaunt M.S. CCC/SLP and Manda Riebel M.A. CCC/SLP from Twin Sisters Speech and Language Therapy. We would like to thank Rose for letting us guest post at her blog today! A BIG happy 2nd BLOGANNIVERSARY to you- congratulations! We just love your blog- although for some reason we always feel hungry after reading your posts. J

 

We enjoy weekly themed speech and language therapy sessions at our clinic. We find that they are fun to put together, productive and extremely motivating for all our speech students. This week we did a camping theme!  

Here are some pictures of a few of our activities:
Each session that we do is very individualized for every speech therapy student. We always make sure there are plenty of activities to pick and choose from. At the end of this post we will include credit and links to many of the activities that we will mention. This week we had the following activities planned:
-Scavenger hunt using a flashlight and backpack. Depending on the student, we used small play animals that could be found in the forest, articulation cards, phrase level cards and/or literacy targeted cards.
-Concepts on the door included a following directions activity, matching, colors, shapes, letters, numbers and the concept task of needing to recognize same and/or different.
-Fishing game from Super Duper for articulation targets, concepts and/or literacy targets.
-Painting camping from Oriental Trading Company and Magnetalk (from Super Duper) pictures while following directions, naming vocabulary and repeating sentences with grammar targets.
-Completing MagneTalk activities, which included vocabulary, following directions, concepts, deductive reasoning, auditory memory, categorizing and rhyming activities.
-Completed many versions of puzzles with vocabulary and numbering targets, letter and word tracing pages, and concept worksheets.
-Best of all we did what everyone likes to do most when they go camping………………………….MAKE S’MORES!
Making the s’mores were so much fun! The students always love it when we incorporate a cooking task into their speech therapy session. It’s such a great motivator for the student to know that when they are done with the tasks and goals planned for the session, that they get to cook and have a treat! We had them make their s’more by first naming the ingredients, listening and following directions, answering questions about the process, writing out the steps and using their senses to talk about what they had made.
Everyone really seemed to enjoy this week’s theme of camping at speechJ The s’mores were a big hit!
Thank you again to Rose for letting us guest post at your blog today! Congratulations on your blog birthday! Best wishes to you for many more. 
J.  Please come check Twin Sisters Speech and Language Therapy out too if you get the chance: BLOGFACEBOOK,TPTTN,PINTEREST
Here are links to materials we used in our camping unit:
“Indoor S’mores Recipe & Language Tasks Document.”
Here’s a link to our freebie: HERE

Super Duper MagneTalk: HERE
Super Duper Fishing: HERE
Oriental Trading Sticker Sheets:  HERE
Concept Pages: Homeschool Creations: HERE
And  2teaching Mommies: HERE
Camp Following Directions: Wordnerdteachspeech: HERE
Camping Adventures Speech Therapy Game for /k/ Phrases: TheacerMomof3: HERE
Out In The Woods Cause and Effect Pack:  The Dabbling Speechie: HERE
Thank you and have a terrific day!
Shanda & Manda

And now for today’s giveaways…..Enter to win Candy Math Word Problems from Busy Bee Speech and  Supermarket Sort from Figuratively Speeching .  Click on the links to check out their awesome prizes and other items in their TpT stores!!  This giveaway will stay open until September 8 at midnight!

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